On The Money
Financial Advice for the Working-Class
Labor Day, and NPR
Well its Labor day. A day off to honor American workers. Listening to NPR this morning, the only mention I heard of it, was an announcement that the stock markets were closed for the holiday. They didn’t even say which holiday.
If you listen to NPR on Memorial Day, you’ll hear Taps, a 21 gun salute, and a story about veterans. On Easter they’ll report from the Vatican, and you’ll hear the Pope. They play the sound of fireworks on the 4th of July, and the cheers of people counting down, as the ball drops in Times Square on New Year’s Eve. They give us Christmas season retail sales reports for a solid month be fore Christmas, and they’ve played that David Sedaris elf story (oddly, the only story about an American worker I can remember hearing on NPR) so many times we’re ready to puke up Mama Stamberg’s cranberry relish, but not a word about Labor Day.
You’d think the president would say something appreciative of all of the people who set their alarm clocks every day, give up half of their waking hours and pour themselves into their work to make our economy and government function. Maybe he’d mention that while wages stagnate or decline, worker productivity continues to soar. He could show some appreciation for all of the people who now work so much harder, for so much less. He could take a moment to thank American workers for all the sacrifices they have made, and for how much more they will be asked to sacrifice, just to keep America strong and competitive in the world economy. If Obama made that speech, they sure didn’t cover it on NPR.
Maybe some corporate CEO issued a statement to the press, in appreciation of all of the people who worked longer hours and took a cut in pay, in order to justify his obscene salary to the corporate share holders. NPR always seems to have time for those folks when they have something to say, but I heard no such message today.
I can understand how NPR could both report on higher productivity numbers, and lower wages, but somehow never cover the effects that these things have on the lives of American workers. I mean, the government issues a report, and the productivity number is printed right there. When a union makes concessions in a contract, someone sends them a press release. Do you send out a press release to announce that this is the third time this week you’ve had ramen noodles for dinner? So, you can see how they miss that story.
But Labor Day is a fucking holiday! How do you forget to do a story about American workers on fucking Labor Day. White collar or blue, 85% of us work. What else do 85% of us have in common? You’d think that stories about American workers would have very wide appeal all year around, but especially on Labor Day.
By contrast, less than half of us own stocks, and most of the people who own stocks, own very few. But, NPR tells us what happens on the stock market, and why, every half hour, at least. NPR themselves tell us, repeatedly, that bubbles in the stock market, mean that wild fluctuations on Wall St. do not really reflect the economic reality of most Americans. So why, do you suppose, does NPR continue to report all of the major stock indexes every half-hour, but can’t find a single story about American workers to run, even on Labor Day? Oversight, maybe? …Just slipped their minds? …institutional Alzheimer’s disease?
How should I know? But I know the Asian markets lost two percent of their value on news of a flat jobs report here in the U.S. and that stocks on Wall St. are seriously overvalued, especially when compared to American workers.